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Changi Jewel sets a new standard

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Although airports have always been places to shop, until relatively recently they have largely consisted, with a few exceptions, of a Duty Free shop, a bookshop-cum-newsagent and a pharmacy, alongside a couple of restaurants and a café or two.

Times have changed however and if you happen to be passing through Changi, the international hub airport in Singapore you will be able to gauge just how much.

Since yesterday, its official opening, Changi Jewel has been in place to offer shoppers around 300 stores (many of which are one-offs for this location), the planet’s largest indoor waterfall (it has a 130ft drop from roof to floor), a luxury hotel and Shiseido Forest, an indoor trek through the rainforest, among other things.

All of which has cost close to $1.3bn and, thanks to the good offices of Jewel’s architect Moshe Safdie, a structure that goes quite as far as is needed to ensure that travellers view this airport as a destination in its own right.

Nothing else on this scale is likely to open this year in airport world and other airports, such as Dubai and Hong Kong, also stopovers, will be looking to their laurels.